Atlantic Storm, a bioterrorism “table-top” exercise
convened on January 14, 2005, was organized by the Center for Biosecurity
of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), the Center
for Transatlantic Relations of the Johns Hopkins University (JHU),
and the Transatlantic Biosecurity Network, with generous financial
support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the German Marshall Fund
of the United States, and the Nuclear Threat Initiative.
Atlantic Storm Interactive is a web-based, multimedia presentation
that takes the briefings, updates, simulated newscasts, and other
materials that were prepared for the exercise and integrates them
with excerpts from the actual discussions of the exercise participants.
This presentation has been designed to allow viewers to place themselves
in the role of one of the decision-making participants or in the role
of one of the event’s observers. The Guide for Viewers and
Facilitators suggests ways to use this presentation and poses
questions to help guide discussion of biosecurity challenges that
were highlighted by the exercise.
As the presentation unfolds, please keep in mind that, while the
exercise scenario was based on the events that might follow a bioterrorist
attack with smallpox, Atlantic Storm was not about smallpox per
se. Rather, the exercise was designed to highlight the numerous
complicated global challenges that would arise in the event of any
large-scale epidemic of infectious disease, whether caused by a bioterrorist
attack or a naturally occurring outbreak. Excerpts from the participants’ discussions
have been chosen specifically to convey the central themes that emerged
in response to those challenges.
A scenario based on a smallpox outbreak is not a worst case scenario,
given that most countries have smallpox response plans and that there
is an existing global stockpile of more than 700 million doses of
an effective vaccine. Other biosecurity threats, such as a naturally
occurring influenza pandemic, could have even more devastating consequences.
Therefore, as you use Atlantic Storm Interactive, we encourage
you to consider the ways in which the lessons and conclusions to be
derived from Atlantic Storm should also inform plans for responding
to all large-scale epidemics, regardless of pathogen or cause. This
re-telling of Atlantic Storm is particularly instructive now,
as the U.S. and other countries work to prepare for a possible human
- Instructions Orientation
to the interface, functionality, and features of Atlantic
Storm Interactive; recommended for first-time viewers.
- Exercise Documents
Documents that were used during the Atlantic Storm exercise are available
here to download and print in advance (PDFs); they are also embedded in the presentation.
- START Atlantic Storm Interactive (please
make sure your speakers are on). The presentation is approximately
60 minutes long if played without interruption.
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